“His small-school roots did not prevent Roethlisberger from putting up Hall of Fame numbers.” — Rick Gosselin, SI.com.
From SI.com: Rick Gosselin spent 20 years as the NFL columnist for the Dallas Morning News, including 20 offseasons studying and researching prospects for the NFL draft.
Gosselin has been resurrecting his college scouting reports this summer for a look back at how NFL talent evaluators viewed draft prospects. Next up is Ben Roethlisberger, a small-school player with big-time NFL production:
GOSSELIN DRAFT ANALYSIS: Roethlisberger was captain of his baseball, basketball and football teams at Findlay (Ohio) High School and was named the state’s Offensive Player of the Year as a senior when he set Ohio passing records for yards (4,041) and touchdowns (54) in a season.
But he only played quarterback that one season, moving behind center in 2000 after three years at wide receiver. As a result, he was late to the recruiting game and wound up playing his college ball at Miami (Ohio). He started there each of his first three seasons before deciding to skip his senior year to turn pro. But along the way Roethlisberger became the school’s all-time leading passer and just the 30th quarterback in NCAA history to throw for 10,000 career yards.
His best game was a 525-yard, four-touchdown performance against Northern Illinois in 2003. When scouts evaluate small-school quarterbacks, they look at the game tapes against the higher levels of competition. Roethlisberger threw two TD passes against Michigan in 2001 and three against Iowa in 2002. He measured 6-4 ½, 241 pounds at the NFL scouting combine and clocked a 4.81 40-yard dash.
Gosselin placed Roethlisberger No. 11 on his Top 100 board, the second quarterback behind Eli Manning, just ahead of Phillip Rivers at 12. The Pittsburgh Steelers claimed Roethlisberger with the 11th overall pick of the 2004 draft.
Here are comments on Roethlisberger from 10 talent evaluators leading up to his draft:
Personnel director: Had trouble against Iowa adjusting to the speed of the game. He’ll struggle a bit adjusting to our game. His improvements will come in spurts.
Personnel director II: Our #2 QB.
Personnel director III: Our #2 QB.
Quarterback coach: Has the best arm but he sprays it all over the yard.
Offensive coordinator: I was more impressed with his game tape than […]
“The season is coming and my little son knows it!” — Ruben Serantes.
“While in Savannah, GA…we stopped by #7’s place! Savannah Tap House! Great place, Ben!” — Gerry Brosch.
“Had to rock the Big Ben jersey my first time in San Fran, lol!!” — Dusty Haspel.
“Named my son after you!” — Bob Tschappat, Jr.
“My daughter loves the Steelers and Big Ben and her birthday!!” — Nicole Griffin.
“Yup, the gang’s all here and ready for my bedtime!” — Wade Kaboly, age 4.
“We certainly aren’t artist but we enjoy our Steelers and Ben in particular. We plan to bring this and hoist it proudly at the HOF game knowing Ben will soon be enshrined.”
“My 13yr old, Dominic and I will be there proudly representing Big Ben and his quest to his enshrinement.”
“Last year, coming off that surgery, nobody knew, really. I didn’t see his arm deteriorate as the season went on. We deteriorated as a team. We just weren’t as good.” — Steelers GM Kevin Colbert.
From Teresa Varley, Steelers.com:
General Manager Kevin Colbert typically kicks off each Steelers training camp with a media availability that covers a wide range of topics and procedures, while also filling in some of the gaps to help explain what the team did during the offseason and why those things were deemed important at the time. But no matter what Colbert was asked Tuesday, and then what his answer happened to be, a theme emerged and carried through the whole session.
And that theme was contained in four words within one of the first sentences he spoke into the microphone.
“The one thing we really want to think about and talk about is it’s an unusual year.”
“An unusual year”.
That’s a big statement, coming as it does following a year that was significantly impacted by COVID, to the degree that most regular season games were played in empty stadiums and some of those kicked off during the middle of the week.
But there can be no argument that “unusual” is an apt description for the kind of offseason it has been for the Steelers. It started with hammering out an agreement with Ben Roethlisberger to come to an agreement on his contract that would serve the dual purpose of bringing him back for his 18th season while also leaving the Steelers with sufficient resources to make the necessary personnel moves the offseason would require.
“To go back to what Ben did for us back in the spring, by taking a restructuring of his contract, which was done with really two purposes in mind,” said Colbert. “The first – his being able to be here, and then also allowing us to do some things financially and-cap wise that we probably wouldn’t have been able to do without that. It was a very unselfish move on his part.”
You can read the rest of his interview here.